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What's Your Problem?

“Running away from a problem just increases the distance from its solution. The easiest way to escape a Problem is to Solve it"

Ask the right questions; identify the real problem; choose the right process; get a great solution.  

(Hint:  SODR is our process of choice for resolving almost every type of problem or dispute - it uses the best aspects of all modern dispute resolution processes in a single, flexible, hybrid process).

Disputes & Process Choices 

Personal Issues, Disputes & Conflicts 

Process Features and Outcome Requirements

What?  You have issues, disputes or conflicts with friends; family members (inside or outside a family business); colleagues or managers at work; business partners; education providers, or with just about anyone, or with anything else. 

Why?   You need to get your own head straight about what to do, and how to do it, because you’re not yet in a place to work things through with the people or things you have these issues with. 

 

How?   The process needs to be: private, empathic & sensitive, cathartic, constructive and empowering because, at this stage, it’s all about helping you get clarity and confidence.  You can worry about others once you start to problem solve with them.     

Recommended Processes:

Or

This process is personal and preparatory, so it needs to be fair, objective, quick & inexpensive.  You don’t need a final solution, or closure, because you’re just getting started.

Family & Relationship Conflict

Process Features and Outcome Requirements

What?  You have issues, disputes or conflicts with friends, a spouse, life or business partners, or somebody else who matters (or who used to matter), to you.  Your problems are relationship-based and may involve loss of love, respect, trust or positive regard.  If a divorce or de facto separation is involved, you may need help with property settlement.    

Why?   You need to get your issues resolved because the emotional trauma is taking its toll on you, and on people you care about, and you all need to get on with your lives.

 

How?   The process needs to be: confidential, empathic, sensitive, cathartic, constructive and empowering because, if you can’t get the relationship interplay right, nothing much else is going to work.  Dealing with your relationship issues first makes any material / property settlement problems much easier to resolve.

Recommended Processes

 

The process needs to be fair, balanced, quick & (relatively) inexpensive.  Depending on the personalities and issues involved, you may either want to reach your own conclusions, or have somebody independent decide for you:  (a) if you just can’t reach your own agreement or (b) if the other s.o.b is never going to agree to anything! 

Family: Wills & Probate

Process Features and Outcome Requirements

What?  You have a dispute with other family members over the will of a deceased relative.  Some of problems may be financial, some may be relationship-based because, after all, this is a family matter!

Why?   You need to get things resolved, with finality, because the financial and emotional trauma, and having to deal with lawyers over family stuff, is making everybody truly miserable.  How can a fight over someone else’s stuff create so much misery and threaten to blow the whole family apart? 

 

How?   The process needs to be: confidential, empathic, sensitive, objective and authoritative, mainly because you need to address family, relationship and material issues, if you’re to have any family left after you come out on the other side.        

Recommended Processes

 

The process needs to feel fair to everyone from the outset; it needs to be time and cost effective - to avoid wasting money in fight costs; and it must be final - you only want to go through this once. 

Depending on the personalities involved, try to reach your own agreement first (it could be something other than what the will originally suggested).  If not, you may need a respected neutral to make decisions for you, because you’re never going to reach agreement by yourselves.   

Formal decisional processes can achieve final and binding outcomes efficiently, but tend to focus on financial and legal issues, and are much less cathartic for the family.   

Family Business Issues

Family Business issues invoke a multitude of complexities, including Family/Family Business Conflict, and, especially, Succession issues.

Process Features and Outcome Requirements

What?  You (or others) have issues with other family members (in your or other generations of the family) over your or their positions, roles, responsibilities, expectations, performance, remuneration, plans (or lack of plans), favouritism, breach of promise, or a multitude of other issues - real, imagined, or constructed.  Some of these issues will be factual, some material, some historical, some relationship-based, and some will be plain incomprehensible because, after all, this is a family business we’re talking about!      

Why?   You need to get things resolved, because the commercial and financial damage, and the emotional trauma, risk destroying the family’s business and wealth, and the family itself.  Unfortunately, you’re suffering from “The Family Business Curse”. 

How?   The process needs to be: confidential, empathic, sensitive, objective, authoritative and constructive, mainly because you need to address family, relationship, commercial and financial issues if you’re to have much of a family, or a business, or any family wealth left when you come out on the other side.             

Recommended Processes

 

The process needs to be very private and feel fair to everyone from the outset; it needs to be very flexible, because business families usually have lots of skeletons in their closets; it needs to be time efficient and cost effective, because no family business has spare time on its hands, and they never want to splash money around if they can avoid it.

 

Decisions may be needed, but should be used as a last resort to remove road blocks - it’s hard enough to get families to abide by legally binding decisions, previously accepted, at the best of times;  it’s far better to build and enforce consensus from within the family. 

Formal decisional processes can achieve final and binding outcomes efficiently, but tend to focus on financial and legal issues, and are much less cathartic for the family.  

 

Resolved by Agreement: SODR produces final outcomes; Facilitation and Mediation - no guaranteed outcome.  

Resolved by Decision:   SODR can address all family relationship, emotional/behavioural, commercial and financial issues, with authority, if the dispute resolver has relevant experience.

   

Other decisional processes are not optimal in family business environments.  They may achieve final and binding outcomes, but will probably blow the family to pieces in the process.   

Contracts & Leases (private & commercial)

Process Features and Outcome Requirements

What?  Contracts and leases are standard legal constructs.  They respond best to prompt, business-like, objective processes.  

Why?   You need to get things resolved as efficiently and quickly as possible, so you can get on with the rest of your life.   

How?   The process needs to be: fair, time and cost-efficient and effective, and final.  It requires participation from all relevant stakeholders - so in a lease situation we require participation from tenants, landlords and property financiers.

Recommended Processes

Resolved by Decision:   SODR can move from being facilitative to decisional, so it can address both human and commercial issues with authority. 

 

Formal decisional processes achieve final and binding outcomes, but tend to focus on financial / legal issues, and settlement.  They are much less cathartic for commercial relationships. 

Commercial Disputes

Process Features and Outcome Requirements

What?  Commercial disputes and disagreements are a fact of life.   They respond best to prompt, business-like, objective processes that are confidential, commercial, practical, and authoritative.  

Why?    You need to get things resolved as efficiently and quickly as possible, so you can get on with running your business and your life.  

 

How?   The process needs to be: fair, time and cost-efficient and effective, and final.  You don’t want to waste time, effort and money on something that, at best, will only get you to where you would have been had the problem not occurred.           

Recommended Processes

Resolved by Decision:   SODR can move from being facilitative to decisional, so it can address both human and commercial issues with authority. 

Formal decisional processes achieve final and binding outcomes, but tend to focus on financial / legal issues, and settlement.  They are much less cathartic for commercial relationships. 

Workplace Disputes & Grievances

Process Features and Outcome Requirements

What?  Workplace disputes & grievances happen.  It’s a human thing that occurs due to: circumstances, culture, personality differences, behavioural issues, lack of organisational clarity and discipline, management deficiencies, and many other factors.  

Why?   Workplace disputes & grievances require careful and effective handling, because the individuals involved need to be able to continue to work together.                    

How?   The process needs to be: confidential, empathic & sensitive, objective, authoritative and constructive.  In other words, you need everyone to get back to work as quickly as possible, satisfied that they’ve been heard and the problem is being dealt with, as quickly and cheaply as possible.                    

Recommended Processes

Resolved by Agreement:   SODR produces final outcomes; Facilitation and Mediation - no guaranteed outcome.  

Resolved by Decision:  SODR can move from being facilitative to decisional, so it can address human, legal and workplace issues with authority. 

Formal decisional processes achieve final and binding outcomes, but tend to focus more tightly on legal issues, and settlement.  They are much less cathartic for workplace relations. 

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Melbourne,

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Australia. 3000

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